MA entrepreneurs fear local resistance, fees will hinder recreational cannabis rollout

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Massachusetts’ recreational marijuana program is set to launch July 1, but cannabis business executives in the state predict that fewer than a dozen retail marijuana stores will be ready to open.

“It’s going to take 18 to 24 months until there’s a robust retail marketplace,” David Torrisi, president of the Commonwealth Dispensary Association, told The Boston Globe.

The biggest reason behind the slow rollout, officials said, is that roughly two-thirds of the state’s 351 towns and cities have either banned or issued moratoriums on marijuana businesses, according to the newspaper.

Furthermore, many Massachusetts towns will grant marijuana businesses a so-called community host agreement – a requirement to get a license – only if they’ve paid fees that are often exorbitant.

For example, medical cannabis company CommCan bought the town of Medway $263,000 in fire department equipment and paid an additional $55,000 in fees, the Globe noted.

Then to get the community host agreement required for a rec license, CommCan agreed to pay the town $500,000 over five years.